Do business cards STILL matter in 2020? And what makes a good one?

Before the internet, business cards were one of the few ways you could market your business to new people. And their look, design, and feel were of vital importance. 

But now that anyone can easily Google your business name, do business cards hold as much value as they used to for entrepreneurs?

It appears so. New research by online printing specialists, instantprint has found that they still matter a great deal to many people, and the design on a business card can actually have a huge impact on the perception of your business.

They’re also a great way of those just starting out to ensure people remember them. After all, you can’t Google a business name if you can’t remember it!

Why you can’t afford NOT to carry business cards

As we highlight here, despite living in digital age, we still can’t afford not to carry ‘old school’ business cards with us.

Let’s say you meet a potentially useful contact while you’re out and about. And you want to make sure they have your contact details (or you theirs). What’s the easiest way to achieve this? Simple: swap business cards.

If you don’t have a business card to hand, you’re left hurriedly writing down contact details on a notepad (if you have one), or worse, a scrap of paper you can find. Or inputing them into your phone.

And what if you, or the person you’re dictating your details to, makes a mistake? You may never hear from each other again, and a potentially valuable opportunity has been wasted.

It’s much easier, quicker, more professional and more foolproof to simply carry business cards with you. So you can pass them to the right people when you meet them. (It also makes it easier for them to pass your cards on too, if helpful.)

People are put off by a bad business card

So, we’ve established that it’s wise to carry business cards. But how much thought and investment should you put into them?

Put it this way, your business card isn’t just a handy way to convey your contact details: it’s a mini snapshot of your brand. Everything from the type of card you choose to your font, logo and the messaging on the card all speak volumes about you and your business.

According to research by Instaprint, more than half (55%) of all people working in business services, including IT, have had their perception of a business or company negatively impacted by the quality and/or design of their business card alone.  

The study asked 2,000 UK adults working across different professions about their attitudes towards this popular piece business stationery.  

For people working in business services, traditional card layouts with logos, fonts and colours that represent a business’ services came out on top, with more than half (48%) favouring this style. This was twice as popular as very creative and unique designs (24%).

Comparing these results to the nationally representative sample, those working in the business services sector were more likely to have been put off by a bad business card (55% versus 40% of all respondents).  

What makes the perfect business card design?

Alongside the nationwide poll, instantprint also conducted in-depth biometric analysis2 – using eye tracking (heatmapping and pupil dilation), heart rate monitoring, and 1-100 dial rate scoring.

Users were tested with seven business card variations from across ten industries (seeing 70 cards in total); revealing what grabbed their attention first, what got their heart rates going, and which designs interested them the most overall. 

So, what makes the perfect business card design? According to the research, we nee to take into account three important elements.

1) Colour

Yellow and white are the most appealing colour ways for the background of a business card, according to the biometric analysis. Strong primary blues and green were also popular accent colour options. 

2) Text

All copy should be easy-to-read and evenly spaced, with black or white text colour most appealing. Classic fonts were consistently more popular than modern typefaces.

3) Logo

Users showed a preference for simple and representative logos that took up no more than 25% of the total business card space. 

Less is more when to comes to business card designs

The biometric research results reiterated a tendency towards simplicity over more unique and statement designs, as was also outlined in the poll results. 

So when it comes to designing your business cards, remember KISS – keep it simple, stupid!

Some clever business card designs to inspire you

To give you some inspiration for simple-but-clever business card designs, check out these examples:

Need to design a business card? Instaprint has easy-to-use design templates for you to use.

Photo by Julio Tirado